- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Donald Trump has a way of dominating the news cycle — so much so that his campaign has bragged it doesn’t need to invest in traditional television advertisements because of all the earned media he receives.

Indeed, Mr. Trump has a way of making headlines everyday. Some of his competitors have tried to jump on the bandwagon criticizing Mr. Trump, which then only gives him more coverage.

We make our case below, outlining Mr. Trump’s antics each day and the coverage that follows, starting the day after Labor Day. Also witness how some of his competitors get sucked in and spat out – or how they take advantage of Mr. Trump’s headlines.

Tuesday, Sept. 8

Mr. Trump’s team trolled former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by releasing an Instagram video demanding Mr. Bush supporters “Wake Up.” The video asks viewers if they’re having trouble sleeping at night and if they need some “low energy.” It then shows a woman nodding off at a Bush campaign event.

Mr. Trump then followed the video with several tweets and disparaging remarks about Mr. Bush on Twitter like: “I’m self funding my campaign but lobbyists & special interests for Jeb & others are starting to do big ads — desperate! Don’t believe them.”

The video was featured on most news outlets and prompted Mr. Bush’s campaign to interview the woman who nodded off and explain why she did so — looking, well a little desperate.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Several things this day:

Mr. Trump tweeted a letter he wrote to CNN President Jeff Zucker asking the network to donate all of its upcoming debate proceeds to veterans groups. National coverage followed.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz invited Mr. Trump to appear on the stage during his Iran deal protest on Capitol Hill. National news media followed.

The Rolling Stone feature on Mr. Trump was released, which included his infamous “face” comments about former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, prompting immediate pundit outrage.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson took a swipe at Mr. Trump during one of his campaign events, questioning Mr. Trump’s faith — to which Mr. Trump quickly hit back on Twitter, gathering more headlines.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal released an anti-Trump ad comparing him to actor Charlie Sheen and his “winning” comments; it drew more than 7,000 views within a few hours of its launch.

Thursday, Sept. 10

Mr. Trump was invited onto most major news outlets to defend his “face” comments about Ms. Fiorina, telling them he meant her “persona.” News outlets also wanted to cover Mr. Trump’s reaction to Mr. Carson’s faith comments.

Mr. Trump also went on a Twitter tirade about Mr. Jindal, who went to the National Press Club and delivered a speech which blasted Mr. Trump. In a tweet Mr. Trump said: ” I only respond to people that register more than 1% in the polls. I never thought he had a chance and I’ve been proven right.”

The Trump versus Carson, Fiorina and Jindal debate waged into the evening on most news networks.

Friday, Sept. 11

Mr. Trump makes an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and performed a mirror skit with the comedian to rave reviews (and coverage). Mr. Carson takes to the airwaves to apologize to Mr. Trump, saying he had no reason to question Mr. Trump’s faith.

Saturday, Sept. 12

Mr. Trump, at a rally in Ames, Iowa, told voters he didn’t think Mr. Carson “has the energy” it would take to be president, continuing to slam the retired neurosurgeon despite his apology. News networks continued to cover “the fight.”

Mr. Trump also lashed out at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Twitter saying: “I truly understood the appeal of Ron Paul, but his son, @RandPaul, didn’t get the right gene.” And then another one questioning why Mr. Paul would be included in the CNN debate.

Sunday, Sept. 13

Mr. Trump appears on CBS’ “Face the Nation” to defend his “face” remarks about Ms. Fiorina and attacks on Mr. Carson. He uses the platform to further criticize Mrs. Fiorina’s record at Hewlett-Packard.

Monday, Sept. 14

Ms. Fiorina’s Super PAC put out a video capitalizing on Mr. Trump’s “face” comment, saying she “was proud of every year and every wrinkle,” generating national news coverage.

A New York Times article titled “Showdown Between Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump expected at Republican Debate,” led what would be dozens of other articles written about the Trump-versus-Fiorina angle at the debate, creating immense build-up before the Wednesday event.

Mr. Trump held a rally in Dallas, which packed the American Airlines Center, and was cut into live by cable news networks. He said America has become “a dumping ground for the rest of the world” and decried “anchor babies” and gangs.

Tuesday, Sept. 15

The Club for Growth started running an advertisement series against Mr. Trump, to which he promptly took to Twitter to debase the group. He tweeted: “Little respected Club For Growth asked me for $1,000,000 — I said “NO”. Now they are spending lobbyist and special interest money on ads!”

National news media covered the advertisement plan and Mr. Trump’s rebuttal to the group, furthering his anti-lobbyist, special interest, anti-establishment talking points.

Wednesday Sept. 16

The GOP presidential debate occurs.

Thursday, Sept. 17

An early-morning, news-show victory lap for Mr. Trump, who declared his own win. He tweeted out and repeated the following talking points wherever he went: “Every poll done on debate last night, from Drudge to Newsmax to Time Magazine, had me winning in a landslide. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain!”

During the evening he made different news — Mr. Trump didn’t outright dismiss or correct a townhall questioner in New Hampshire who called President Obama a Muslim.

The news media jumped on the interaction, immediately comparing Mr. Trump’s handling of the situation to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s handling of a similar situation while on the presidential campaign trail years ago, where Mr. McCain took the microphone from the woman and told her she was wrong.

Friday, Sept. 18

Mr. Trump cancels his appearance at a South Carolina Heritage Action forum because of “business conflicts,” causing pundit speculation the real reason for his dismissal was because of the Muslim fallout the night before.

Not wanting that to be the dominate storyline, Mr. Trump’s campaign released a Second Amendment position paper, which called for a national right-to-carry and a concealed-carry reciprocity law, that ignited the gun rights conservative base behind him and drew a flurry of coverage.

Later that evening, Mr. Trump doubled-down on his handling of the Muslim-related question, tweeting: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”

“This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy by NOT saying something.”

“If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!”

The national news-media followed.

Saturday, Sept. 19

Talk-shows dominated with Muslim-related coverage, with Mr. Trump sticking to his tweeted talking points issued the night prior.

Sunday, Sept. 20:

Mr. Trump appears on two Sunday talk-shows, NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and ABC’s “This Week,” where he defended his townhall actions on Thursday and began a new line of attack on Ms. Fiorina, who many declared the winner of Wednesday’s debate and saw a dramatic spike in national polling, while Mr. Trump’s numbers declined.

Mr. Carson was also on “Meet the Press” and was asked if Islam was consistent with the Constitution and if he’d elect a Muslim to be president — only because of Mr. Trump’s controversy.

Mr. Carson took the bait and said he doesn’t think Islam is consistent with the Constitution, and he wouldn’t advocate for a Muslim to be president — sparking a new controversy.

Monday, Sept. 21:

Mr. Trump continued to defend his Muslim comments and stance at Thursday’s townhall. He also did a Twitter question-and-answer session where he made news for saying Baltimore Raven’s quarterback Joe Flacco was a “very elite athlete” and gave praise to Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady, but not for his policy positions.

Mr. Trump also seemed to reignite an ongoing war with Fox News, tweeting that evening, after negative coverage from several of its news programs: “[email protected] was very negative to me in refusing to post the great polls that came out today including NBC. @FoxNews not good for me!”

And..

“I am having a really hard time watching @FoxNews”

Which sparking news outlets to reignite the old story line.

And lastly, Mr. Trump released another Instagram attack ad on Mr. Jeb Bush, this time questioning Mr. Bush’s sobriety. The ad implies Mr. Bush still may be smoking marijuana (after Mr. Bush admitted during Wednesday night’s debate that he did 40 years ago), after it linked several recent instances where Mr. Bush may have misspoken.

The ad was covered on most morning talk shows Tuesday. And thus, the Trump media obsession continues.

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